End of the year teacher check-out can be stressful. Couple that with an international pandemic and closed schools. Now you have quite the recipe for significant stress. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
I recently went live in a principal facebook group and talked through our plan for teacher check-out. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you or get you thinking about what needs to happen for teacher check out at your school.
5 Things to Think About for Teacher Check-out – 2020
Organization is Key!
Usually, my organization is on point. This year I struggled to wrap my mind around closing out the school year. The teachers literally walked out of their classrooms for Spring Break thinking they’d be right back. Once they got back into their classrooms it was emotional for them. That’s a whole other blog post someday.
When teachers check-out at the end of the year they have student help and parent volunteers. Not this year! They were given two days to go from a fully functioning classroom to a completely packed up and abandoned classroom.
The key to the success of the end of the year teacher check-out this year was my secretary. Fortunately, she agreed to an in-person brainstorming session, keeping our social distance. Luckily, she is a quick start and a fast thinker. I could throw out an idea and she can immediately process it into action. Together we could make the best decisions.
End of the year communication is key
End of the year teacher check-out starts with A LOT of communication. When school is in session, I can post to my blog and then have face to face conversations to answer questions. Of all the things I have been called in my lifetime, being a good communicator has been the most endearing.
The documents I am sharing below I have always shared with my staff. This year I paid more attention to detail and tried to make things more specific.
Packing Up Student Belongings
Usually, students pack up their own stuff at the end of the year. They also help the teacher clean out desks, lockers, cubbies, book boxes, etc. Do you know how much “stuff” students have at school? Oh my!
We didn’t realize how much time we would need to devote to packing up only the student stuff. Unfortunately, due to social distancing, teachers could only have one person to help them. Preferably, someone, they had been “staying at home” with.
The picture above is the best example of how we chose to do this. Our local market donated the bags and each student averaged 2-3 bags of supplies. The bags were then lined up in the gym alphabetically by the classroom.
A Place for Everything
Another thing we had to keep in mind was limiting touching everything. Our goal was to keep everything in one location/room. Each teacher had a designated spot and container only he/she should touch. We chose the teacher’s workroom as the best location based on the design of that room. Your teacher workroom may not be the best place for your school.
End of the year teacher check-out also included confidential information. Again, in order to keep touching things to a minimum, we had to move perm records for easy access. For instance, perm records are usually kept in fire-safe file cabinets. That means every teacher has to go to the same file cabinets and everyone is touching them.
Most importantly, my secretary had the best idea. Her idea was to put perm records in the cubbies in the workroom. Here’s why:
- We can lock the workroom
- Teachers can grab/touch only their folders and take them to their room to work.
- Perm records can’t be stored in the classroom overnight. So, teachers could bring them back to the workroom for safety and get them the next day if needed.
- As completed we could put them back in fire-proof file cabinets.
In conclusion, how did your school handle end of the year teacher check-out this year? Please share in the comments so we can help more principals!
Updated from a past blog post: